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(Posted by Syn on Year 15 Day 136 22:15)

Early in Year 14, we released an announcement that NPC starting skills would be reduced. This change has just been implemented, so you will notice that all NPCs in the galaxy that currently exist and that are hired in the future now possess significantly fewer skill points than before, and have had their bonus skill points per level refunded. As this will undoubtedly be discouraging to many players, further explanation follows.

The reason for the change itself is two-fold:
* First, NPCs previously started with the full skillset of a level 1 character, regardless of which skills could actually be used by each NPC type. This created an imbalance both between low level characters and NPCs, and between NPC types themselves.
* Second, this created a situation where race bonuses unrelated to an NPC's type were being returned for allocation to significant effect, causing effects such as high-Management races making superior combat types for the skill refund alone.

All NPCs now start with a total of 10 skill points allocated appropriately over skills useful to each NPC type where possible. This was chosen because it is the same number of points a player allocates to his second-priority skill category (although the NPC starting points are not necessarily restricted to a single category). NPCs will still receive one skill point per level to freely allocate, and the level 10 cap for NPCs is still in place.

NPCs that have no implemented roles or skills (such as many Civil and Tutorial NPCs) were given a default skillset suitable for civilian non-combat NPCs. Should further implementation occur for any NPC types, their skills may be slightly tweaked as needed to account for such changes in the future.

The reason for the delay between the original announcement and this implementation is that this update necessitated a significant rewriting of the admin tool to create NPC templates (thanks to Mikel), the complete revision of all existing NPC templates (I can be blamed appropriately), and the syncing and updating of all existing NPCs (thanks to Selatos), along with considerable testing time. We had also hoped to have a method for mass-allocation of NPC skill points available, but unfortunately that is not yet the case and no ETA exists.


Edit: While many NPC types have had their default Strength adjusted, HP values have not yet been updated. This will update itself for NPCs as they level or have skill points allocated, and an HP update will be forced for level 10+ NPCs in the coming days.


Edit2: I had heard reports that musician and custom npc types did not have their skills reset properly--I have reset the skills for only those two types of NPCs a second time.  

(Edited by Selatos on Year 15 Day 140)